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The Open Championship First Round Leader Tips



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The 150th showing of the The Open Championship is just days away with the best golfers on the planet all heading to St Andrews in Scotland in an attempt to win the 2022 Open Championship.

We have some exclusive Open Championship betting tips for SportsLens readers which you can check out by clicking the link, but this article is all about the first 18 holes. Who do you think will be the first round leader at the end of play on Thursday? Without any further ado, here is who we fancy to be at the top of the leaderboard after their opening 18 holes around the Old Course at the famous St Andrews Links.

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The 150th Open Championship Preview

This week is the turn of the fourth major of the year; The Open. All of the world’s best golfers are heading to Scotland this week in a bid to win the final major championship of the year, in what should be an entertaining, spine-tingling and exciting week of golf at St Andrews.

Some notable names such as world number one and Masters champion, Scottie Scheffler, three-time Open Championship winner, Tiger Woods, and the 2022 PGA Championship victor from earlier this year, Justin Thomas all feature this week at The 150th Open Championship at the ‘Home of Golf’.

Taking a look at the course itself, St Andrews Links is a complete masterpiece. It is highly regarded as one of the best golf courses in the world. The Old Course is a par 72 and is 7,305 yards in length. The Open has been held here on 29 previous occasions, as well as hosting The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship several times over the years. The course record is held by Englishman Ross Fisher, who cared an -11, 61 back in 2017.

With this week bringing us the fourth and final major of the year, there is a truly mouth-watering prize fund to play for as you may well expect. The prize money for this event is staggering. The prize pot is a tasty $11.5 million, with the winner taking home a tidy $2,070,000.

Back to the point in question, who will be sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard after their opening 18 holes of golf up in Scotland? Here is who we think has the best chance of being right up at the top of the leaderboard come Thursday night after Round 1 of The Open.

As a valued SportsLens reader, we have teamed up with several bookmakers to provide you with the best betting offers and golf free bets ahead of the final major championship of the year this week. Check out the best 150th Open Championship betting offers and free bets by clicking here!

The 150th Open Round One Leader Betting Tips

Odds are correct at time of publishing and are subject to chance

The Open Tip 1: Rory McIlroy to lead after Round 1 @ 16/1 with Virgin Bet

Our first tip to lead after the opening 18 holes on Thursday at St Andrews is four-time major champion and former world number one, Rory McIlroy.

It could be argued that McIlroy is playing the best golf on planet earth right now, and is certainly knocking on the door again in major championships. The Northern Irishman finished second at The Masters earlier this year, before holding the lead after Round One at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May.

The 33-year old also was right near the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the US Open last month at The Country Club, before falling away slightly and finishing in a tie for fifth place.

McIlroy has finished inside the Top 8 of every major this year, sitting right at the top of the leaderboard after the opening day on two occasions, so for us here at SportsLens, this looks like an obvious selection for The 150th Open at St Andrews this week.

The golfing superstar won The Open back in 2014, and has a few Top 10 finishes since then, showing that the links golf test suits his game.

On his day, McIlroy is still the best player in the world, without a any shadow of a doubt, and when his putter is hot and he is stitching wedges, he will be hanging around at the top of leaderboards for a good few years yet.

Certainly one capable of going low in the first round at a great price of 16/1 with Virgin Bet.

The Open Tip 2: Patrick Cantlay to lead after Round 1 @ 40/1 with Virgin Bet

Our second tip to start like a house on fire this wee at St Andrews Links and be sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard at the end of play on Thursday, is Patrick Cantlay.

The 2021 FedEx Cup champion is yet to win a major championship, but has won a plethora of PGA Tour events over the past few years. The 30-year-old has won seven PGA Tour tournaments, with the last coming in April the the doubles tournament at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. However, in 2021 Cantlay won three major PGA Tour events: The Memorial Tournament, BMW Championship and the Tour Championship.

It is clear to see that Cantlay has the game to contend with the best players in the world, and just needs to transfer that over to major championships, where he has somewhat underperformed.

On his day, the American Ryder Cup star has the game to go low around St Andrews, which isn’t exactly one of the most difficult courses for these professional golfers. If the wind doesn’t pick up massively in Scotland this week, someone the calibre of Cantlay is more than capable of making a tonne of birdies and threatening the course record.

Despite not winning on tour this year, Cantlay has finished second twice, in both the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the RBC Heritage, where he was beaten in a play-off by Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth respectively.

Although he hasn’t won in almost a year solo, Cantlay has shot some stellar rounds of golf and has been sitting at the top of the leaderboard after round One on more than just a few occasions. If he can replicate that form this week, he has every chance of winning his first major championship and certainly holding the lead after the opening day on Thursday.

Certainly one capable of going low in the opening round at a great price of 40/1 with Virgin Bet.

The Open First Round Leader Markets (Top 10)

Golfer (To lead after Round 1) Highest Odds Bookmaker
Rory McIlroy 16/1 Virgin Bet logo
Jon Rahm 20/1 Virgin Bet logo
Scottie Scheffler 25/1 Virgin Bet logo
Justin Thomas 25/1 Virgin Bet logo
Collin Morikawa 30/1 Virgin Bet logo
Matthew Fitzpatrick 35/1 Virgin Bet logo
Jordan Spieth 35/1 Virgin Bet logo
Xander Schauffele 40/1 Virgin Bet logo
Will Zalatoris 40/1 Virgin Bet logo
Cameron Smith 40/1 Virgin Bet logo

Odds are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.

Other notable mentions

Although McIlroy and Cantlay are our biggest fancies to be at the top of the the leaderboard after the first 18 holes are complete, here are some other notable players who we think have a good chance of a hot start at a great price:

Xander Schauffele @ 40/1, Jordan Spieth @ 35/1, Shane Lowry @ 45/1, Will Zalatoris @ 40/1 and Paul Casey @ 70/1. All prices are with Virgin Bet.

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